One of Troubetzkoy's most famous sculptures, the bust of the Russian writer Lev Tolstoy was modelled around 1899 when Tolstoy sat for the sculptor at Yasnaya Polyana, the writer's family estate. The model was widely exhibited in Russia and abroad during the artist's lifetime, including further exhibitions in Paris 1900 and 1904, New York 1911, Chicago 1912, and Rome 1913.
Tolstoy's bust was singled out as an outstanding example of the sculptor's work pulsing with spontaneity and life. As a result of the popularity of the model in both plaster and bronze, versions are now held in many important public and private collections. Notably, related bronze casts of this bust can be seen at the Leo Tolstoy State Museum, Moscow, and at the Museum-Estate of Leo Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana.
For a similar version of this model from the State Tretyakov Gallery, see Catalogue of the Collection, Sculpture of the 18th to 20th Centuries, Moscow, 2000, vol. I, p. 259, no. 371. For another similar model, see Exhibition catalogue, Paolo Troubetzkoy 1866-1938, Museo del Paesaggio, Verbania, 29 April-29 July 1990, pp. 139, no. 77.